Down East 2013 ©
A History of Christmas Prelude. It was the early spring of 1982 when Henry Pasco called a meeting of business people for the purpose of discussing ways for the business community to give thanks to the residents of Kennebunkport and Kennebunk for supporting them. Henry suggested a Christmas festival of some sort to create a sense of community spirit. At the time Nantucket and Marblehead were staging Christmas festivals. The goal was not to duplicate these events but to stage our own unique festival. Committees were formed and the name Prelude was suggested. The first Prelude included a tree lighting ceremony, a River Tree Arts concert, a chowder luncheon, candlelight caroling, and Santa’s arrival by lobster boat.
Christmas Prelude now has three tree-lighting ceremonies: Dock Square in Kennebunkport, Lower Village of Kennebunk, and the lobster trap tree in Cape Porpoise; about a dozen art and craft fairs; approximately twelve venues serving either breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner; programs sponsored by the historical society; and twelve programs of music celebrating the season.
Santa still arrives by lobsterboat and is escorted by two very special “lobster elves."
The Kennebunkport Business Association’s Christmas Prelude is now in its twenty-sixth year. Prelude would not be the celebration that it is without the thousands of volunteer hours that go into the preparations. In good weather or bad, you will find these hardworking volunteers devoting two days of their time in dressing the villages in their holiday finery with sparkling lighted Christmas trees, seashell decorated wreaths, and garlands of greenery and ribbon.